12-7-2006 829-1341

I‘m a bit miffed. Three weeks ago I pedaled my way home from work through waist-high flood waters and loved every minute of it. Last week I pedaled directly into the teeth of a quasi hurricane knowing full well it was crazy to do so. Try that at my age, kiddies. Today I was all excited about making the trek home through the predicted snow squalls and whiteouts only to be disappointed. I know they may really suck for some, but I’m starting to look forward to these weekly natural disasters.

What’s on for tomorrow? 14 degrees in the morning? Man, that’s no challenge. Shucks.

One week it‘s “deceit and deception,” and but a few weeks later it’s “Why don’t they sell the land cheap…” If the city gives a problem property away, it’s decried as proof of corruption. And then when the city doesn’t give a property away on the cheap, the Homer Simpson of Wilkes-Barre politics wants to know why not?

Confused? You should be, because I think Wilkes-Barre’s energizer activist/candidate confuses not only his reluctant onlookers most of the time, but himself as well. His typically inane rants seem borne of confusion, but that’s what comes about when the simple make complex issues of the simple. When the newspapers come a calling looking for a counterpoint to the original point, as in this case, he gets to babbling without first thinking through the proposals.

If you haven’t already seen the mayor’s proposal, here’s the link:

W-B mayor sees new houses in city’s future

“We’re rebuilding a city,” Leighton said. “It kills me when people say I only focus on the downtown. I’ve removed 35 blighted properties.”

Leighton said it’s premature to discuss how large the new homes would be or how much they would sell for. He said the city would try to combine federal and state funds with county and city funds to pay for the projects.

“The need to increase and improve the quality of homes in the housing market of Wilkes-Barre is quite evident since the majority of the houses in this area (are) between 75-100 years old,” the grant application says. “By providing new modern affordable homes in Wilkes-Barre, residents will be more likely to purchase houses and become homeowners instead of renting. Additionally, with the revitalization efforts in the city, new residents will be relocating to the city for new employment and may want to purchase a newer home in this area. In return, new housing will benefit the city by getting these once-blighted properties back on the city tax rolls.”

Sorry you anti-incumbent malcontents, but a sprinkling of newer homes mixed among an aging housing stock makes perfect, perfect sense. And to argue with that is to admit an unusual and unhealthy attraction to all things buffoonery. But, I say again, this is Wilkes-Barre. And in Wilkes-Barre, buffoonery seems to be on the upswing.

Following past land purchases by the city, Griffith has maintained that “the city shouldn’t be in the real estate business.”

“This is something new for me, I haven’t heard about this one,” Griffith said. “My first reaction is: I don’t know why the city wants to be in real estate.”

Griffith said utilizing taxpayer money for real estate projects is too dicey.

“Why don’t they sell the land cheap and let people build their own houses?” he said. “I don’t know how they’d market a house on South River with the crime down there. There are homes up for sale there now and you can’t give them away. … I don’t see where there’s such a huge housing market in Wilkes-Barre to put that type of investment in. I think it’s too risky.”

You don’t know why the city wants to be in the real estate business? Um, if you don’t know, I’ll have my three-legged gerbil explain it to you for a nominal fee. We’ve got slumlords, absentee landlords and property owners who have seemingly flown the coup holding deed to problem properties all over this city. And the folks stuck residing anywhere near those problem properties want them to be dealt with in no uncertain terms.

So, if the city takes ownership of deteriorating eyesores for mere pennies on the dollar and replaces them with shiny new homes, that’s a bad thing? The nearby property owners won’t be thrilled afterwards? And the newer, more attractive homes won’t be easier to market and sell? In a city where the downtown properties are presently appreciating at unheard of rates?

Walter, next time one of the newspapers comes a calling, tell them you need to think things through before commenting. Not all press is good press.

The city shouldn’t be in the real estate business? What, like Nanticoke? The City shouldn’t be working to improve the housing stock, removing blighted properties one at a time, and gentrifying neighborhoods that have gotten used to reverse-gentrification completely against their will? Son, being fat, relentless and stupid is not the best approach whereas attracting votes is concerned. You need to rethink your predictably myopic jabberwocky and fast.

I’ll say a word and you just bark out the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?

Tom Leighton…….BAD!

14 Theaters…….BAD!

I believe…….BAD!

Kathy Kane…….BAD…er, REAL BAD!

Healing field…….BAD!

3.5 inches of rain in a blink…….MAYOR’S BAD!

Derelict properties back on the tax roles…BAD!


Mark Cour F&$%** BAD!

9/11 memorial…….BAD!

A $50 million investment in the WBFD…….BAD!

Shirley Vitachevynova’s hair style…….BAD!

EMS tax resulting in 21 new cops…….BAD!

Bill Barrett’s pets…BAD!

The Beach Boys…….BAD!

New homes…….BAD!

Yes, I think I see a disturbing trend developing, here. Take 500 extra-strength Tylenols, 30 Coors Lights, 100 grams of anise oil and call me in the morning. If you’re out of anise oil, try taking a bath with your four-slice toaster by your side.

Hey, a blast from the recent past:

Walter said…

• Council authorized the city to sell 464, 466 and 486 Hazle St. to Dr. Patrick Kerrigan, who owns a property across the street. Councilman Tony Thomas Jr. said the dilapidated buildings on the lots will be demolished at Kerrigan’s expense and the lots will be paved. Details of the sale have not been worked out.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hey Wilkes Barre Online....More deciept and deception from the City Administration....Why are the taxpayers never told the sale price, and why doesnt City Council and your hero Kathy Kane, ask what the details of the sale were that the Mayor worked out privately...The City bought this property for $1.00 from a resident that owed the City over 50,000 in back taxes and the Mayor sells the property to a friend and City Council isnt responsible enough to assk for details...Thats why they all need to be replaced...The taxpayers have a right to know the details and the City Council has an obligation to inform us..Just more of the same in City Hall...to bad they were not that free when Mayor McGrourty was in office...we could have had "progress as Promised" instead of a Mayor and City Council that are in the Real Estate business.

2:45 PM

Ah, the now aforementioned to death real estate business. The mayor is a realtor by trade, so you pound the “real estate” angle hoping against all hope that the voters of this city will choose to elect the funny little man who instantly objects to every plan. You offer us nothing more than taking a contradictory position as if by rote, and then wonder why you keep getting beat up on the internet, you lowly comment spammer dumbbell. Yours has been an oft-confusing, pitifully inept, but thoroughly enjoyable political suicide to watch. I thank you for the free entertainment.

My gerbil awaits your call at 829-1341.

Oh, and Marlino’s Pharmacy has plenty of anise oil in stock.

Glad I could help.

From the e-mail inbox Hey, Big Blogger (apologies to J.P. Richardson's memory):

Sorry I missed the bloggers' convention Friday night. I was half thinking of showing up to see what the others looked like, you know: two heads, pointy ears, maniacal stares. And, for that matter, so they could check me out, as well. But I'm not into bars, always afraid a blogette will drop a date-rape drug into my decaf and commit atrocities upon my person in the nearest alley.

Actually, the other reason was that I forgot about it. I wanted to meet you, although I disagree with half of what you write and think the other half is flat-out wrong. However, you do make some interesting points that I think are right on the money.

All are invited to drop by my page of meanderings. Join me at northfranklin.blogspot.com, the official site of "Things at Kings, Life on North Franklin." It has nothing to do with King's or North Franklin Street.

Feel free to sign my name; it's no secret.

Tom Carten

* * * *

Today's thought:

Don't do anything that will scandalize the children or stampede the cattle.

Visit me at: http://northfranklin.blogspot.com (new URL)

Too bad you didn’t make it. It was cool. I liken it to the bar scene in Star Wars, and I, of course, would be Harrison Ford. Scratch that. Gort would probably take issue with that. How ‘bout this one: It was more like the scene out of Apocalypse Now when the river boat arrives at it’s final destination. “Never get out of the God damned boat.” Ah, maybe not. Revenge of The Nerds, perhaps? I dunno.

Maybe next time we should just get a keg of beer, a pile of pizzas and relax here at the humble adobe. That way, if somebody gets to blowing about something we don’t wanna hear about, we’ll show ‘em what some really, really loud music is all about. Hey, you like Devo, motor mouth? No? Well, here it comes. Honey, let’s test that white noise generator, shall we? Okay, I’m certifiable. I realize as much. But I do own that noise generator. Testing…one, two…

Although, that’s not up to me. Michael G. Rennie rules the local blogosphere with an iron fist. Truth be told, he’s nothing without his bodyguard. Why I oughta…

I have to admit, I ain’t never met no blogettes. But it sure does sound interesting, especially the depraved part about the possible goings-on in the alley.

Other than the shared hatred for Bush, all of the bloggers in attendance that night are reasonable people. Well, that is, excepting for myself. Then again, you don’t attain the prestige of being known as Wilkes-Barre’s most hated boy in a man’s body by being reasonable. Remember though, I’m the product of three broken homes, so none of this is my fault. (See victimhood)

Next time.

I’ll remind you.

Serious use for Silly String

I heard about this one only because I never miss Sue Henry’s daily radio show.


LOS ANGELES — When it comes to choosing a place to live, work or raise a family, safety and security are two characteristics that many people would find appealing. According to the Third Annual Most Secure U.S. Places to Live rankings from Farmers Insurance Group of Companies®, the most secure location to live in the United States is St. George , Utah .

The rankings, compiled by database experts at www.bestplaces.net, took into consideration crime statistics, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, environmental hazards, terrorism threats and job loss numbers in 379 U.S. municipalities. The study divided the communities into three groups: large metropolitan areas, mid-size cities and small towns.

Anyway, among metro areas of 500,000 or more residents, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area was ranked as the sixth Most Secure Place to Live.

What I’m wondering is, is that a bad thing, too?

Walter, care to weigh in on this one. Or are you still comment spamming with the internet pond scum?

We await your utter…um, brilliance. (?)

Not really.